The European Union has set a December 27, 2024 deadline for device manufacturers to switch to USB-C for their data and charging ports, meaning Apple will have to ditch the iPhone's Lightning connector at a later date to then.
While the EU decision had already been made, the date (via Engadget - opens in a new tab)) is the new development. This means that the iPhone 16 2024 will be able to do without USB-C, but the iPhone 17 2025 will have to include it.
There is a loophole that Apple could make the iPhone 17 completely portless, so it would rely on Wi-Fi for data transfer and wireless charging to recharge the battery. Devices that only charge wirelessly are exempt from the new EU rules.
the clock is turning
We've already heard rumors that Apple is considering switching the iPhone 15 to USB-C for its port, or at least the Pro models of the phone. However, it's fair to say that we've heard the same rumor for several successive iPhones at this point.
For laptop manufacturers, the EU deadline is extended to April 2026. In addition, hardware manufacturers will need to ensure that the same charging speed is available regardless of the charger used, to improve compatibility.
Of course, this only applies to the EU, but it won't be worth it for companies like Apple to make a series of their products with USB-C and another without. Now it's just a question of how long we'll have to wait to see a USB-C iPhone.
Review: The road to USB-C
It's been a long road for the iPhone to embrace USB-C. It's something we've been asking for since the iPhone 12 in 2020, and rumors of Apple making the switch to its flagship phones have been doing the rounds ever since.
Of course, Apple is familiar with the technology: it already uses the standard on its MacBook ports and iPad devices. Even the basic iPad switched to USB-C earlier this year, so only iPhones still use the Lightning standard.
It makes sense that Apple would really change; at this point, there's not much reason to stick with your proprietary standard. Apple executives have publicly admitted that they will have to abide by the guidelines set out by the EU.
We'd be surprised if Apple waited until iPhone 17 to introduce USB-C, but iPhone 15 might be too soon. This is all speculation, but perhaps the iPhone 16, expected to arrive in September 2024, will be the first to carry USB-C.